Born in Kurdistan/Iraq, 1975. Lives and works in Berlin.
Hiwa K graduated from High School in Iraq and continued his self-education meeting different intellectuals, visual artists, musicians and theatre artists. Since 1985, he has practiced painting, also in the public space. He abandoned the discipline around 1998 and completed flamenco guitar studies with the master Paco Peña, which led to working for several years in that field. Subsequently, he returned to visual arts and graduated in the Akademie der Bildende Kunst in Mainz, Germany and was guest student at Städelschule Frankfurt with Simon Starling. Hiwa K’s works escape normative aesthetics. Consequently, many of his works are characterized by a strong collective and participatory dimension and have to do with the process of the teaching and learning systems and an insistence on the concept of obtaining knowledge from everyday experience rather than doctrine. Selected for the sixth, non-realized edition of Manifesta, he later took part in “The Rest of Now” exhibition curated by Raqs Media Collective for Manifesta 7. In 2007 “Cooking with Mama”, one of the performances that brought him acclaim, was included in the United Nations Plaza project in Berlin. In 2009 his video “Moon Calendar / Iraq” was featured in the exhibition “All that is Solid Melts into Air” for art festival organized by MuHKa. Soon after, his completed residency at the Serpentine Gallery’s The Centre of Possible Studies in London resulted in the project “Chicago Boys while we were singing they were dreaming” – a neoliberal study group and 1970s revival band. Recently he also took part in the exhibition “Estrangement” in The Showroom in London. This year Hiwa is contributing both as artist and co-curator in the Alternativa International Visual Arts Festival – the first edition of a new recurrent art event in Gdansk. He was invited by Okwui Enwezor to the 56th Venice Biennale with the work “The Bell”.
Photo by Sarhang Hars. Image courtesy of Prometeogallery di Ida Pisani, Milan/Lucca and KOW, Berlin.